The Commission has adopted a decision (IP/06/1424 of 18 October 2006) ‘requesting the Court of Justice to impose a lump sum and other penalties on Greece for its failure to implement its 2002 decision in relation to the recovery of a state aid granted by Greece to Olympic Airways between 1998 and 2002’. At the same time, Olympic Airways has initiated legal proceedings in Greece seeking repayment of amounts owing to it by the Greek Government.
Given that the Commission has, since 1994, been aware of the nature and amount of the enormous government debt to OA, to which former Commissioner De Palacio referred in her letter of 15 January 2003 (A-4092/D-71):
When did the Commission take action to secure the return of the enormous government debt to OA which was incurred up to 1992? Has it investigated the nature and amount of the cost to OA of being forced to implement government policies without due reimbursement from 1992 to the present? If so, what is the nature and amount of these costs? Have the amounts outstanding been repaid by the government to OA?
Why does the Commission consider government payments to OA from 1998 onwards as illegal state aid, rather than repayment in instalments of part of the enormous debts to OA incurred by the government which, up to 1992, have been recognised by both the Greek Government and the Commission?
Why did the Commission initiate proceedings before the Court of Justice, instead of awaiting a ruling by the Greek courts? If they order the Greek Government to make repayments to OA, will the Commission be obliged to set this amount against those regarded as state aid?